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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Kabeya and Cowell to make England debuts


Sadia Kabeya (centre) was called into England camp for the first time over the summer
Date: Sunday 14 November Kick-off: 14:30 GMT Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Coverage: Live on BBC Two and the BBC Sport website and app; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

Teenage flanker Sadia Kabeya and wing Heather Cowell will make their England debuts against Canada on Sunday.

Kabeya, 19, is in the back row with Loughborough team-mate Sarah Hunter, who returns to the starting XV at six and reclaims the England captaincy.

Last weekend’s captain Poppy Cleall keeps hold of the number eight shirt and will be vice-captain.

England face the world number three side at Twickenham Stoop after claiming two record wins against New Zealand.

The Black Ferns will host the World Cup in 2022 and head coach Simon Middleton said both Kabeya and Cowell have the chance to claim their place in the squad for the tournament.

Cleall’s 91-year-old grandmother will be one of several family members watching at the Stoop as the forward earns her 50th Red Roses cap, a milestone also celebrated by lock Abbie Ward.

In the continued absence of injured centre Emily Scarratt, Lagi Tuima gets her chance to start at 13 as Holly Aitchison is pushed to the bench.

Full-back Ellie Kildunne – a try-scorer in both of England’s wins against the Black Ferns – drops out of the matchday 23 altogether as Sarah McKenna makes her first start of the autumn.

Zoe Harrison and Helena Rowland are once again at 10 and 12, while Claudia MacDonald starts at scrum-half and prop Hannah Botterman returns to the front row.

Middleton said “Canada are a very strong and physical side” and has included six forwards on the bench to cope with the visitors’ powerful pack.

Many of the Canadians will be familiar to the Red Roses given they play in the English Premier 15s league.

Canada’s front row of Olivia DeMerchant, Emily Tuttosi and DaLeaka Menin all play at Exeter, while wing Paige Farries is at Worcester. Lock Emma Taylor is a former Saracen and replacement prop Alex Ellis is a current player at the London club.


England: McKenna; Cowell, Tuima, Rowland, Dow; Harrison, MacDonald; Botterman, Cokayne, Bern, Aldcroft, Ward, Hunter (Capt), Kabeya, Cleall.

Replacements: Davies, Cornborough, Muir, Millar-Mills, Matthews, Packer, Infante, Aitchison.

Canada: Alarie; Poulin, Kaljuvee, Tessier, Farries; Belchos de Goede, Miller DeMerchant, Tuttosi, Menin, Taylor, Holtkamp, Forteza, Paquin, Senft.

Replacements: Russell, Kassil, Ellis, Beukeboom, Buisa, Royer, Pelletier, Gonzalez.

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